That is how Will Forte tried to spell “business” on last night’s spelling bee sketch on Saturday Night Live. No matter where you are, you could probably hear me laughing. Nay. Crying in laughter. Jesus, that was funny. As was the Parnell-Samberg joint, “Lazy Sunday,” which I have played over and over on the Tivo today. There is nothing better than genre parody where half the humor comes from nailing it (see South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, This Is Spinal Tap, and A Mighty Wind). Parnell has tried his very silly gangsta rap schtick on “Weekend Update,” and I thought it was rather amazing, but it tended to fall flat. I suspect that it was easier to perfect it with a collaborator.
Jessica and I went to see Walk the Line last night. We laughed. We cried. It was very good. Over dinner after at Chevy’s, where the waitress seemed to hate our guts for some reason, we came to a few conclusions about this fine movie.
- The Elvis really sucked, and the movie’s producers wouldn’t know a Roy Orbison from a Buddy Holly. The Jerry Lee was pretty good. Phoenix’s Johnny Cash was exceptional, but truly, as has been said by others, I think, Reese Witherspoon walks on water as June Carter.
- I personally loved the last scene of the film, the recreation of the Folsom performance and the couple of scenes that lead up to it, Johnny getting the idea, then pitching it to record executives. The Folsom album is 64 percent of why I adore Johnny Cash, its rebelious populism, its compassion, its artistry, its overwhelming success against the odds and against The Man who told him it would flop. It is absolutely right that 1968 and Folsom is the fulcrum of this movie.
- Don’t expect the bulk of this film to paint Johnny Cash out as some sort of hero. Much of it focuses on Cash as a substance-addled man obsessed with a woman. Not a good place for a man to be.
- It is often difficult in biographies to sort truth from legend. I have read The Man Called Cash 1.5 times, and I do not remember the story from it in which Cash proposes to June onstage. The film doesn’t touch nearly on the role that the Gospel played in Cash’s life, though it does hit those points well, largely through the character of Jerry Lee Lewis, who was more bugged by the seeming contradiction of being a musician and being a devout than anybody.
- I think someday they should just make one single biopic about all of these people, Waylon Jennings, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, The Big Bopper, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley…Maybe a miniseries. That would be neat.
- Go see the movie damnit.